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Whether you are a working woman or a homemaker, a mother’s role is always one of the toughest to handle. Pleasing the kids does not necessarily go hand in hand with ensuring they eat the food that’s best for their ages. Preschool lunch ideas or lunch box ideas for Indian toddlers can be especially challenging since they are in a stage where they have newly formed preferences in foods and if there is something they particularly dislike, they will try to avoid it quite strongly.
Your kids can also be quite attracted to the shapes, sizes and colors in food rather than the actual content. Hence, toddler lunch box ideas for picky eaters should be mindful of the food’s appearance along with its nutrition value. We will be sharing some great toddler lunch box and preschool lunch ideas in today’s article. We will also be sharing some tips and tricks for keeping food visually stimulating and engaging for the tiny ones.
This is the cuisine that most Indian moms are habituated with. While Indian food can be a big part of the preschool menu, don’t let it dominate what your kids eat or they will get bored really soon. They will also start noticing more variety in food eaten by the other kids and will start asking you for those options.
But do not worry. Indian food has so much diversity that it can serve as multiple cuisines. Use this diversity to your advantage when planning to keep your preschool lunch ideas as balanced as possible.
Oats Idlis are a healthier modification to regular idlis which kids tend to find slightly bland and don’t necessarily have a rich nutritional value. Try putting very finely cut veggies like carrots and capsicum into the idli batter and serve the dish with lentil sambhar.
In just one go, your toddlers get the required carbohydrates, proteins and fiber while loving the taste!
This is perhaps the best variation to regular poha and upma which Indian women repeat forever during breakfast and snacks. Bread Upma or as it’s also called Bread Poha, has small chunks of bread cooked with peas, carrots, coriander and other optional vegetable options.
All kids love bread and when its combined with veggies, it’s a win-win situation.
Italian cuisine can be one of the most delightful lunch box ideas for Indian toddlers. By its basic nature, Italian food mostly comes in small containable bite sized portions and the shapes of pasta fascinating for your kids.
Penne Pasta is one of the most loved recipes among kids because of its scrumptious white sauce. This should be one of your top favorites on preschool lunch box ideas because the universal truth is – “Kids never get bored of pasta. Period. “
Depending on your dietary preferences at home you may choose to add a combination of veggies and chicken to this pasta to complement the carbohydrates with protein and other nutritional value.
Paneer Tikka Pizza is sure to be a winner because kids love Paneer in any dish and gobble down other veggies when they are accompanied by it. Team up onions, green and yellow capsicum and olives to make a wholesome nutritional package. You may slyly add spinach to the list of toppings because we empathize how difficult it is to get your kids to eat spinach otherwise!
We also understand that making the pizza base for your kids’ preschool lunch menu, might make the procedure slightly longer than expected. As an alternative, just get pizza bases from the store and invest your time only in the toppings. Or you can make the dough the previous night to save time.
Indians have given the world an exquisite and unheard of Indo-Chinese cuisine – a unique blend of Chinese food with Indian masalas and ingredients. This can be one of the best options in toddler lunch box ideas for picky eaters, if your kid prefer the zest of Chinese and Indo-Chinese sauces.
If you don’t want to waste time making the sauces, just store a few bottles of the prominent ones and you are good to go on most rushed mornings.
Schezwan Fried Rice is one of the most exciting Chinese sauces not just for kids, but for adults too. Get a bottle or two of this one (you will find organic options better if you are concerned about the ingredients) and do good to yourself and your family.
Depending on your dietary preferences in the toddler lunch box, we suggest adding eggs for lots of protein or alternatively finely chopped green beans as the healthy vegetarian substitute.
Hakka Noodles is a genius option in toddler lunch box ideas for picky eaters since noodles naturally fascinate kids. Make the process fun with teaching the him/her how to use to a fork or chopsticks to eat noodles and very soon, you will find that they are engaged in the meal!
As always, make your choice of protein in the noodles depending on your household’s dietary preferences.
American cuisine is not just the comfort food for adults, but for kids too. Incidentally, it is the easiest to make too! Just be sure to remain mindful of vegetable and/or meat additions in it to ensure you are not serving mostly carbohydrates in your toddler lunch box.
For the Indian Hamburger, the only thing you need to do once you have burger buns with you, is make the mixture for tikki (patties) and shallow fry, bake or grill them. The best part here is that you can mix and match ingredients in the patties to avoid giving the same kind of burgers every single time.
You can Indianize the patties by adding lentils and veggies to them to pack a whole lot of great nutrients in there. If it works for you, chicken or fish patties can be a great source of protein and essential oils. Don’t forget to include spinach or lettuce and try varied dressings like mayonnaise, ranch, mustard etc. instead of the same old ketchup.
Mac and Cheese is a tricky dish and we took time deciding whether to put this in Italian or American. While macaroni is essentially pasta, the famous ‘Mac and Cheese’ is a thoroughly American dish which is a favorite of every child (and even many adults).
The trick to make this a worthwhile addition to your preschool lunch ideas is to add a healthy portion of veggies into it. Lots of tomatoes, peppers, beans, onions and optional chicken will make it a totally winning addition in the preschool lunch menu.
● Try to always keep an eye out for filling the lunchbox with as much balanced nutrition as possible. If carbohydrates dominate your preschool lunch ideas then consciously add vegetables, lentils or meats to them wherever possible to get the required protein and fiber.
● You may add some cut up fruits, cucumbers, carrots or cherry tomatoes on the side to add a unique element to lunch box. You can also give them a small amount of the chips they like as a side to drive home the point that you care about the comfort food they like.
● Remember that your kids might not be paying as much attention to drinking water during the day at school so make your preschool lunch ideas comprehensive by adding a beverage element. You can squeeze fresh fruit juices and shakes which they enjoy and end up getting the water content and vitamins.
● As mentioned earlier, toddlers and preschoolers get really excited with the look of food dishes. If your kid’s friends get more exciting looking food all the time, it doesn’t matter how much thought and effort you put in getting the nutrition right. Your kid is going to end up sulking and being unhappy about his/her lunch box.
● The first thing to remember is that kids like tiny things – tiny toys, tiny chairs and tiny food. They feel more connected to tiny food portions as against large and boring adult sized ones. Cut up the vegetables in the preschool lunch menu in tiny sizes which can be held by tiny hands and eaten one morsel at a time. If you are making hamburgers, get kiddie sized buns instead of the regular ones or cut up a regular burger into tiny pieces.
● Use toothpicks to seal sandwiches or wraps together – once the filling comes all out, your toddlers aren’t going to like the look of it when the lunch box opens. Garnish relevant dishes with coriander and
Use engaging lunch boxes – keep an eye out for themed collections for kids and get their favorites. Most kids like Spiderman, Barbie, Ninja Turtles, Barbie and Pokemon etc.
Hopefully, our preschool Lunchbox ideas have been a great guide to making your kids’ meals a healthy and fun affair. Remember to avoid pre-made and packed foods as much as possible and use fresh, natural and organic ingredients as much as possible. Be aware of all allergies at all times to avoid critical reaction episodes while at the preschool. Lastly, ask your toddlers about lunch hour when they get back home to make them feel more accountable and involved in their meals.